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Unit 5.



1. A. Read the text Christmas and say what else you know about this festival. (Students Book VI, Lesson 12 can help you.)

B. Look through the text again and find out what people call a special church service on Christmas Eve in Britain and America.

Christmas is the main public holiday in Britain and the US. This Christian holy day is held on December 25th (in Russia on January 7th) in honour of the birth of Christ. People often see it as a time of merry-making and present-giving. They usually spend time with their families, eat special food and drink a lot. On Christmas Eve some people go to a special church service called Midnight Mass or Christmas Eve Service at 12 oclock at night. Others may have a drink with their friends.

Christian holy day

in honour


Midnight Mass ca ()

Reading for information

2. A. Match the pictures with the proper parts of the text Before Christmas Day and their titles.

B. Read the text again and find out:

  • what the expression go carol singing means
  • where Santa Claus is thought to live
  • how Santa Claus is thought to travel

Before Christmas Day


1. Shopping before Christmas.
2. Christmas cards.
3. Carol singing.
4. Christmas tree.
5. Santa Claus: what he looks like.

6. Santa Claus: the way he travels.
7. Santa Claus: where he lives.
8. Christmas stockings.
9. Christmas presents.

I. People sometimes go carol singing, which means singing carols in the street, outside peoples houses. Some carols, for example O, Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night, are very well-known.

II. Santa Claus is thought to live at the North Pole where he spends most of the year in his workshop making toys for children with the help of elves often called brownies in America. People think of him as a happy man, who says, Ho [hau], ho, ho.

III. There is a tradition that children should put a long sock called a Christmas stocking at the end of their bed or by the chimney or hang it by the fireplace so that Santa Claus will fill it with presents. A tangerine or a nut are often put into the stockings. Santa Claus is supposed to visit each house on Christmas Eve by climbing down the chimney.

IV. Young children are told that Santa Claus will bring them presents if they are good. Children sometimes write a letter to Santa Claus telling him what presents they would like for Christmas. On Christmas Eve (December 24th, the day before Christmas Day), they often leave out something for him to eat or drink.

V. People also buy and send Christmas cards to their friends usually containing the message Merry Christmas. The cards often show pictures of the nativity (the birth of Christ), Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, robins or scenes of old-fashioned Christmases.

VI. Because people give each other presents, in the days and weeks before Christmas the shops become very busy. Newspapers and television, etc. say how many shopping days there are left and people often spend a lot of money. But many people feel that Christmas has become too much of business and so has lost its meaning.

VII. Santa Claus, also called Santa, Father Christmas (in Britain), or Kriss Kringle (in America) is an imaginary old man in red clothes and with a long white beard.

VIII. He is supposed to fly about the sky in a sleigh [slei], pulled by reindeer.

IX. People usually decorate their houses and many people have a Christmas tree with coloured balls or lights on it in their house which they also decorate.

ye = you


elves ,


supposed ,


Reading for Discussion

3. Read the text, divide it into logical parts and give them titles.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is a public holiday. Families usually spend the day opening their presents which are often piled around the Christmas tree decorated with tinsel, baubles, fairy lights, etc. They eat and drink together. The most important meal is Christmas dinner. At the start of the meal, British people often pull a cracker, which contains a small toy, a paper bat and a joke. The typical meal nowadays consists of turkey with potatoes and other vegetables such as carrots and sprouts. In Britain this is followed by Christmas pudding a sweet pudding containing a lot of dried fruit and often covered with burning brandy. Other traditional foods in Britain include Christmas cake a cake containing a lot of dried fruit and usually having a covering of icing (hard sugar) made to be eaten at Christmas, and mince pies.

Americans bake special biscuits called Christmas cookies which they eat over the Christmas season (the time when people prepare for and celebrate Christmas, from mid-December to the end of the year).

In Britain, the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day and is also a public holiday. A lot of sports take place on Boxing Day and many people now spend time watching sport on television. In the US many stores hold special sales, where things can be bought cheaply, on the day after Christmas. Twelve days after Christmas is the time when people are supposed to take down their decorations and remove their Christmas trees.

piled around


baubles ,

fairy lights



covering of icing

mince pie , ,


4. Put together all the information about Christmas and sum it up in a short talk about X-mas1 celebrations. Let each student add something to the story. Dont repeat each other.

1 X-mas Christmas

5. Follow your teacher reading the poem or listen to the recording, 27, and say what made King John happy.

King Johns Christmas

(After A. A. Milne)

King John was not a good man
He had his little ways.
And sometimes no one spoke to him
For days and days and days.
King John was not a good man,
And no good friends had he.
He stayed in every afternoon ...
But no one came to tea.
And, round about December,
The cards upon his shelf Which wished him lots of Christmas cheer,
And fortune in the coming year,
Were never from his near and dear,
But only from himself.

King John was not a good man,
Yet had his hopes and fears.
Theyd given him no present now
For years and years and years.
But every year at Christmas,
While minstrels stood about,
He stole away upstairs and hung
A hopeful stocking out.

King John was not a good man,
He lived his life aloof,
Alone he thought a message out
While climbing to the roof.
He wrote it down and propped it
Against the chimney stack:
To all and sundry near and far
And signed it not Johannes R.
But very humbly, Jack.

I want some crackers,
And I want some candy;
I think a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I dont mind oranges,
I do like nuts!
And I should like a pocket knife
That really cuts.
And, oh! Father Christmas,
If you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red india-rubber ball!

King John was not a good man
He wrote this message out,
And got him to his room again,
Descending by the spout.
And all that night he lay there,
A prey for hopes and fears.
I think thats him -coming now,
(Anxiety bedewed his brow.)1
Hell bring one present, anyhow
The first Ive had for years.

Forget about the crackers,
And forget about the candy;
Im sure a box of chocolates
Would never come in handy;
I dont like oranges,
I dont want nuts.
And I have got a pocket knife
That almost cuts.
But, oh! Father Christmas,
If you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red india-rubber ball!

King John was not a good man
Next morning when the sun
Rose up to tell a waiting world
That Christmas had begun,
And people took their stockings,
And opened them with glee,
And crackers, toys and games appeared,
And lips with sticky sweets were smeared.
King John said grimly, As I feared,
Nothing again for me!

King John stood by the window,
And frowned to see below
The happy bands of boys and girls
All playing with the snow.
A while he stood there watching,
And envying them all.
When through the window big and red
There hurtled by his royal head
Fell and bounced upon the bed,
An india-rubber ball!


ways -

cards greetings cards


near and dear

fears ,

minstrel ,

stole away upstairs


thought a message out


chimney stack

to all and sundry

F. = Father

R. (lat. rex) = king

would come in handy


him = himself

descending by the spout

prey for hopes and fears







hurtle ,

blessings ,

1 Anxiety bedewed his brow